Daily Briefing – 381

New York Won’t Extend Unemployment Benefits to Healthcare Workers Fired Over Vaccine Mandate

New York’s new vaccine mandate, which went into effect Monday, makes it necessary for workers in New York’s hospitals and nursing homes to have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Healthcare workers who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine and are fired for failing to comply with a new state law will not be able to collect unemployment benefits unless they present a doctor-approved request for medical accommodation, according to the New York Department of Labor. Governor Hochul is ready to call in the National Guard in case of shortages of healthcare workers caused by the mandate. SUNY has said it will fire workers that refuse to comply at their facilities.

The governor’s office said that about 16 percent of New York state’s medical workers, or 72,000 people, remained unvaccinated. Meanwhile the CDC has said the potential loss of unvaccinated health care workers ‘creates a challenge’.

Read more at Business Insider

Pelosi Sets Thursday Vote on Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill

The House will vote Thursday on the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, pushing back an originally planned vote for Monday that Democratic moderates had demanded as part of a deal with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The vote is only part of what’s set to be a jam-packed week in the House. In addition to the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Democrats are also aiming to take action on the $3.5 trillion package to expand social safety net programs, act to prevent a government shutdown on Oct. 1 and avoid a debt default. 

Lawmakers will still debate the bill on the House floor on Monday, but the actual vote will be pushed to Sept. 30, when some surface transportation programs are set to expire, Pelosi announced in a Sunday night missive to Democrats. 

Read more at The Hill

Goldman Expects Oil Prices to Hit $90 by Year-End as Supply Tightens

Goldman Sachs raised its forecast for year-end Brent crude oil prices to $90 per barrel from $80, as a faster fuel demand recovery from Delta variant and Hurricane Ida’s hit to production led to tight global supplies. On the demand side, Goldman said risks were “squarely” skewed to the upside in the winter, as a global gas shortage will increase oil-fired power generation.

Brent futures hit a near three-year high last week as global output disruptions have forced energy companies to pull large amounts of crude out of inventories.  Oil prices were trading at $79.19 a barrel, as of 0619 GMT on Monday, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude were at $75.08 a barrel. 

Read more at Reuters

Panic Buying Leaves up to 90% of Fuel Pumps Dry in Major British Cities – Competition Law Suspended

A shortage of lorry drivers has caused problems for a range of industries in recent months, from supermarkets to fast food chains. In recent days, some fuel deliveries were affected, leading to panic buying and lengthy queues at some petrol stations. Pumps were mainly running dry in Britain’s urban areas, while Northern Ireland was currently unaffected, he said.
In a joint statement from companies including Shell, ExxonMobil and Greenergy, the industry reiterated that pressures on supply were being caused by “temporary spikes in customer demand – not a national shortage of fuel”. PRA chairman Brian Madderson told the BBC the shortages were down to “panic buying, pure and simple”, with oil companies prioritizing keeping motorway service station pumps topped up.

Read more at the BBC

US COVID-19 Update – The Latest Numbers

  • 64.2% – of the U.S. population have had at least one vaccine dose.
  • 55.2% – of people in the U.S. are fully vaccinated.
  • 86,859 – new U.S. cases recorded yesterday.
  • 662 – deaths in the U.S. recorded yesterday.
  • 687,764 – total U.S. deaths.

Get more stats at Worldometers

NYS Vaccine and COVID Update 

Vaccine Stats as of Monday September 27th.:

One Vaccine Dose 

  • 70.9 of all New Yorkers – 13,769,431 (plus 18,567 from a day earlier) 
  • In the Hudson Valley 1,446,927 (plus 1,683) 

Fully Vaccinated

  • 63.4% of all New Yorkers – 12,335,189 are fully vaccinated (Plus 11,208)
  • In the Hudson Valley – 1,282,924 (plus 1,489) are fully vaccinated. 

The Governor  updated COVID data through Sunday September 26th.  There were 24 COVID related deaths for a total of 56,611.


  • Patients Currently in Hospital statewide: 2,341.

Seven Day Average Positivity Rate:

  • Statewide 2.72%
  • Mid-Hudson: 2.85%

Useful Websites:

COVID-19 Booster Doses for Eligible New Yorkers

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a “robust implementation” of booster doses into the State’s COVID-19 vaccination program, ensuring an efficient, equitable, and effective distribution of booster doses to eligible New Yorkers statewide.  In accordance with CDC’s recommendations, there are four groups of New Yorkers who are now eligible for their COVID-19 booster dose:  

New Yorkers who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine SHOULD receive their booster dose at least six months after their primary vaccine series IF: 

  • They are 65 years and older or residents in long-term care settings.
  • They are 50 – 64 years of age with underlying medical conditions. 

New Yorkers who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine MAY receive their COVID-19 booster dose at least six months after their primary vaccine series IF: 

  • They are 18-49 years with underlying medical conditions, based on your individual benefits and risks.
  • They are 18 – 64 years and are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of your occupational or institutional setting, based on your individual benefits and risks. 

Read the press release

CDC Studies: Schools With Face-Mask Requirements Had Fewer Covid-19 Outbreaks

Face-mask requirements in schools drastically reduce the spread of Covid-19 among children, two studies published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest.  The CDC recommends universal indoor masking in schools for both students and staff, regardless of vaccination status. 

Researchers in Arizona found that schools that didn’t require masking at the start of the academic year were much more likely to experience Covid-19 outbreaks than those that did. A second study found that counties without mask requirements for schools saw larger increases in pediatric Covid-19 case rates compared with counties with school mask requirements. 

Read more at the WSJ

Pfizer CEO: We Can do Both Booster Shots and Primary Vaccines

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Sunday that first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and booster shots can be distributed simultaneously. The World Health Organization has said that rather than implementing widespread rollouts of booster shots, wealthier nations should work to get more first shots to countries with lower vaccination rates.

“I think it is also not the right thing to try to resolve it with an ‘or’ when you can resolve it with an ‘and,'” Bourla said on ABC’s “This Week.” “It’s not, ‘Shall we give boosters or give primary doses to other people?’ I think the answer should be, ‘Let’s give both boosters and doses for other people.'”

Read more at Politico

SPD Narrowly Wins German Election Against Merkel’s CDU But Uncertainty Remains 

Germany’s left-leaning Social Democratic Party (SPD) will begin negotiations to form a ruling coalition after preliminary results showed the party narrowly winning the largest share of parliamentary seats following Sunday’s federal election. The SDP won 25.7% of the vote, beating out the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the centrist-right, conservative party of Chancellor Angela Merkel, which posted record losses by taking 24.1%, according to the Federal Returning Officer.

But there is still uncertainty over who will be the next leader of Germany. Both the SPD and the CDU with its coalition partner, the Christian Social Union (CSU), have said they want to begin coalition negotiations to form a new government. Likely coalitions in Germany will either see the SPD or CDU/CSU forming a government with the Green Party, which took 14.8% of the votes, or the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP), with 11.5%.

Read more at CNN

China Power Crunch Spreads, Shutting Factories and Dimming Growth Outlook

Widening power shortages in China have halted production at numerous factories including many supplying Apple and Tesla, while some shops in the northeast operated by candlelight and malls shut early as the economic toll of the squeeze mounted.  Rationing has been implemented during peak hours in many parts of northeastern China since last week, and residents of cities including Changchun said cuts were occurring sooner and lasting for longer, state media reported.

China is in the grip of a power crunch as a shortage of coal supplies, toughening emissions standards and strong demand from manufacturers and industry have pushed coal prices to record highs and triggered widespread curbs on usage. Read the explainer

Read more at Reuters

PennEast Stops Pipeline Development

PennEast will stop developing its proposed Pennsylvania-New Jersey natural gas pipeline despite a court ruling bolstering the project this summer. “PennEast has not received certain permits, including a water quality certification and other wetlands permits under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act for the New Jersey portion of the Project,” Spokesperson Pat Kornick said in a statement. 

“Therefore, the PennEast partners, following extensive evaluation and discussion, recently determined further development of the Project no longer is supported. Accordingly, PennEast has ceased all further development of the Project,” the statement continued. 

Read more at The Hill

Durable Goods Rise on New Plane Orders

Durable goods orders rose 1.8% compared to July, to $263.5 billion, taking flight on a nearly 78% increase in non-defense aircraft orders, the Commerce Department reported, a jump largely due to Boeing. Excluding transportation equipment, total orders edged up just 0.2%, slowing from recent months but still reflecting rising investment.

Total orders have increased in 15 of the past 16 months, and the originally reported dip in July was revised up to show a 0.5% increase, according to the report. In other sectors, orders of motor vehicles and parts fell 3.1% while computers and electronics rose 1.4 percent.

Read more at IndustryWeek

Covid Pandemic Slashes Life Expectancy — Here’s Where It Fell The Most

The Covid-19 pandemic caused one of the biggest drops in life expectancy since World War II, according to research published in the International Journal of Epidemiology, with American men and women suffering the biggest losses. The U.S. recorded the biggest losses in both men and women—2.2 years and 1.65 years compared to 2019 levels, respectively—something Ridhi Kashyap, co-lead author of the study, said could be partly explained by the “notable increase in” deaths among working aged people due to Covid-19. 

Of the 29 countries studied by researchers from the University of Oxford, just Denmark and Norway did not see a drop in life expectancy in 2020, according to demographic data.  

Read more at Forbes